NASHVILLE – With less than two weeks left before the Atlantic Sun Championships at the end of the month, the Lipscomb track and field squad enjoyed a successful final tune-up at the Chipotle Marshall Invite.
"Traditionally our last meet before the A-Sun Championships is always really good, and this one was no exception,” Lipscomb Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Bill Taylor said. “There were some terrific performances this weekend and some major moves up the A-Sun rankings.”
In the women’s 3000m, juniors Katie Bianchini and Sally Larson finished third and fourth with times of 9:43.63 and 9:44.79, a personal record for Bianchini and an indoor personal record for Larson. In her first race back from injury senior Madi Talbert placed close behind in eighth with a 9:50.58 mark.
"The 3000m was another great race for the women and men,” Taylor said. “In the women's race three Lipscomb women broke 10-minutes, with Katie Bianchini getting a huge personal record of 9:43, followed closely by Sally Larson with a 9:44 in her first race of the indoor season. Madi Talbert ran a terrific 9:50 in her first race of the season as well, after working through some minor injury setbacks. Avery Franklin, who has been improving so much this season, also got a nice personal record of 10:19.”
In the men’s 3000m, senior Daniel Gardner and junior Christian Freeman placed fifth and sixth with times of 8:32.51 and 8:32.87.
"The men got very solid performances out of Daniel Gardner and Christian Freeman, both running 8:32,” Taylor said. “For Christian it was his first race of the indoor season and was a very positive indicator of his fitness.”
“Bianchini brought a lot of toughness into the race and her determination led her to an excellent time,” assistant coach Benton Reed said. “It was a good season opener for Sally and Madi. It's only indoor, and these ladies are training hard. We are in an excellent place going into conference. Daniel and Christian ran smart races too. They set themselves up for a fast race. They will continue to make adjustments and be ready in a couple of weeks."
In the men’s 800, both junior Juan Gonzalez (1:53.53) and freshman Ryan Speer (1:53.67) came in under the Lipscomb indoor record to finish fourth and fifth.
"In the men's 800m Juan Gonzalez and Ryan Speer ran amazing and both went under the Lipscomb Indoor school record,” Taylor said. “They now rank one-two in the Atlantic Sun. Juan leads the A-Sun in the 800m, Mile and 3000m. In the women's 800m Kacey Kemper ran her all-time personal record of 2:14.11. That's a nice season breakthrough for her.”
“Kacey stepped up in a big way,” Reed said. “She went right to the front and stayed there the entire race. She deserves a lot of credit for being assertive and running gutsy.
“The men's 800m was very exciting. Juan and Speer got into a great heat. The early pace set them up for a fast time. They closed the best they have all season and both broke the school record. They both keep raising the standard for the men's distance squad.”
Senior Hannah Munyan (18:07.27) and freshman Madison Colley (18:28.51) earned personal records in the 5000m, placing fourth and seventh.
"On Friday night Hannah Munyan and freshman Madison Colley got big personal records in the 5000m,” Taylor said. “Hannah has been improving steadily the past two years. Madison had a really great breakthrough race. That was really cool.”
“The first day we had the DMR and 5ks for the distance crew,” Reed said. “We had some solid runs in the DMR from the men's and women's teams. The 5kers really came prepared. Munyan set the tone early and ran aggressive with the leaders. She dug deep and really earned her big PR. Madison stepped up and ran really well! She pushed herself to over a minute PR from earlier this year.”
In the men’s 5000m, freshmen Robert Rupp (15:00.17) and Brent Leber (15:15.91) came in fourth and 11th to set indoor personal records.
Freshman Sam Woodford earned third place in the women’s mile run with a 4:59.49 mark, while freshman Andrew Ayers (4:22.13) finished placed 10th in the men’s mile run
"On Saturday freshman Samantha Woodford really set the tone with a 4:59 mile,” Taylor said. “That is her all-time PR and surpasses her high school 1600m time.”
“Sam ran one of the best 1200 splits all time in the DMR,” Reed said. “She followed that up with a great run in the mile. Sam was patient and moved her way up throughout the race. She kicked it in to dip under the five min mark. She is a tough runner and it was awesome watching her at this meet.
“Ayers ran his smartest race yet this season. It was a slower start, but he closed very well.”
Outside of the distance events, junior Wayne Newman continued his hot streak, finishing second on the 60m hurdles (7.97s).
"Wayne Newman ran great again, finishing second in the 60m Hurdles with another sub 8 second time,” Taylor said.
Newman also finished fourth in the 400m (49.06), an indoor personal record.
“We had a great day from our 400m group,” assistant coach Marcus Evans said. “Bridget started things off with a personal best for the season. Then Wayne ran his best at 49.06 after another 60m hurdle under 8 seconds. James Tamburello also ran well today besting his indoor time by more than a second.
“The team really seemed to find its groove at this meet. We had a lot of personal records and good races. Kevin Floyd had a solid day in pole vault, but really surprised us with his performance in the 60m where he ran a 7.25s personal best. The team is coming on strong and seems to be gaining momentum at the right time. We have two weeks to focus on small tweaks in order to get some great performances out of everyone at A-Sun Championships."
Even though it was the first time entering the Marshall Invite for Lipscomb, the Bisons stepped up and turned in some season-best performances.
"This was an exciting end to the regular season of indoor,” Reed said. “We have never been to Marshall before. It was a great environment and our athletes made the most of it.”
"For a lot of our athletes, this meet was a perfect setup for the ASUN Championships in two weeks,” Taylor said.